Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Repent Every Single Day---For Real?! (Part 1 of 2)

My life is pretty normal. I mean, I'm not a thug! And to think back on my day, nothing earth shaking comes to mind.  Yet, the scriptures instruct me to "retain a remission of my sins from day to day" (Mosiah 4:26). 
Religious instructor, Frank S. Gonzalez said "The right time to be...concerned about our sins is every day. Once a week is not enough. Once a month or once a year could prove spiritually fatal".*

My recovery from food addiction using a 12-step program resulted in a 100 lb weight loss and a new blessed life; However, it also taught me a simple yet effective method  to repent daily. 
The 10th step says to continually take a personal inventory and when I'm wrong promptly admit it.  It's amazing what happens when you write down your day---getting it out of your head and onto paper, you really see things more clearly.  It allows you "bring into captivity on paper every thought or deed to the obedience or disobedience of Christ " (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Spencer W. Kimball said:
Those who keep a book of remembrance are more likely to keep the Lord in remembrance in their daily lives. Journals are a way of counting our blessings and of leaving an inventory of these blessings for our posterity.**
Here's how you do it: 
  1. On a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle to create 2 columns.
  2. Write "Character Assets/Blessings" on one side and "Character Defects/Sins" on the other. Note: I'm not necessarily asserting that a character defect is a sin.
  3. Think through your entire day writing down each significant occurrence in the appropriate category
Here's an example:

Blessings / Character AssetsSins  / Character Defects
Patient & loving with grumpy childWoke up late (not a sin but a defect to work on)
attentive & took notes in church Forgot morning prayer
complimented child for reverence in churchSnapped at husband for forgetting to bring diaper bag (yet I forgot something today too)
Lord brought to my mind a blessing I received yesterdaywas late to a meeting (b/c I'm writing daily 10th steps, I notice it's a trend to work on)
realized judging Susie was unfair; silently asked God for forgiveness & to allow me to see her through His eyesjudged Susie for a comment she made
made family a nice lunch even though I didn't feel like itMy mind was wondering when Frank spoke to me today (didn't give him the attention he deserved as if my thoughts were more important)
had personal and family scripture study & prayer (read a scripture about judging others)

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (pp. 84-86) provides some probing questions you might consider while writing your list:
1. Was I resentful?
2. Selfish
3. Dishonest?
4. Afraid?
5. Do I owe an apology?
6. Have I kept something to myself which should be discussed with another person at once?
7. Was I kind and loving toward all?
8. What could I have done better?
9.Was I thinking of myself most of the time?
10. Or was I thinking of what I could do for others?
Henry B. Eyering suggests "As you start to write, you could ask yourself, 'How did God bless me today?' If you do that long enough and with faith, you will find yourself remembering blessings. And sometimes, you will have (ideas) brought to your mind which you failed to notice during the day, but which you will then know were a touch of God’s hand in your life".*** 
Part 2 will explain how to use a 10th step to repent daily & have powerful, intimate prayers with God.

But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance (daily blessing/sins), whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)
  *Gonzalez, Frank S."Repentance: A Daily Pattern" Ensign August 1980.
 **The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982, p. 349.
***Eyering, Henry B. "Remembrance and Gratitude" Ensign November 1989.

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